The Art of the Interview: Master Class with Jacqui Banaszynski

This Master Class was originally broadcast on:
May 15, 2015 Enroll Now
Details about an archived replay of the event will be announced soon. If you registered in the live event, you are already enrolled.

Course Overview

The Art of the Interview: Master Class with Jacqui Banaszynski
Master Class
Time Estimate:
There will be two 90-minute sessions for online participants (with an hour lunch intermission).

About Master Classes

A Poynter Institute Master Class is a unique opportunity to learn from a prominent journalist or other media star in an intimate, exclusive online broadcast or in-person event.

There are few moments for journalists that compare to the feeling of knowing you made someone comfortable enough to tell their story. Getting an illustrative, evocative quote or a telling anecdote is possible only with an excellent interview or series of interviews.

Jacqui Banaszynski has made a remarkable career out of telling great stories and helping other reporters tell them. At the heart of her best work – which includes one Pulitzer Prize and another Finalist– is a mastery of a crucial reporting skill: The interview.

“Live your life as a question,” Jacqui urges reporters anxious to turn their routine reports into stories that people remember. That’s what she does. And she can help you do it, too, on Friday, May 15, in an exclusive Poynter/NewsU event, a Master Class with Jacqui Banaszynski.

Hear Jacqui describe how she turns to “guru” sources to determine the best stories to pursue and the best subjects to build them around. Hear how she gains access to reluctant sources and builds a rapport with them. Hear how she uses “storyteller questions” to turn the people she interviews into storytellers themselves.

Learn how to take your interviews deeper by asking better questions, more probing questions, the questions that separate the best stories from those we all too quickly forget.

Whether you are a reporter or a manager who coaches reporters’ work, this Master Class can supercharge your journalism. Start living your life as a question; your stories will change overnight.

What Will I Learn:
  • How to interview vulnerable subjects
  • Understanding the “power dynamic” at work in various interviews and how to manage it
  • How to get difficult interviews
  • Building a professional and ethical relationship with person you’re interviewing and gaining cooperation
  • How to establish rapport with interview subjects
  • How to deal with your own emotions during difficult interviews
  • How to maintain focus during longterm enterprise stories
  • The differences in the reporter's approach to interviewing for different types of stories
  • Mentoring and coaching interviewing techniques
  • Doing exploratory interviews and using “guru” sources
Who should take this course:

Reporters, writers, editors and educators who conduct interviews or who coach others to conduct interviews.


Jacqui Banaszynski

Jacqui Banaszynski is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who spent 30 years as a newspaper reporter and editor. She holds a Knight Chair professorship at the Missouri School of Journalism, is an editing fellow at the Poynter Institute and coaches student and professional journalists around the world. You can follow her on Twitter at @JacquiB.

Her series “AIDS in the Heartland” won the 1988 Pulitzer Prize in feature writing.


Butch Ward (Host)

Butch Ward is senior faculty and former managing director at The Poynter Institute, where he teaches leadership, editing, reporting and writing. During his 27-year career as a journalist at The Philadelphia Inquirer and Baltimore News-American, Butch held a variety of newsroom positions, including managing editor at both newspapers.

Before joining Poynter, he spent three years being covered by journalists as spokesperson for Independence Blue Cross, the largest health insurer in Southeastern Pennsylvania.